U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto sent a letter Monday asking the Trump administration to state an official position on siting a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain about 100 miles north of Las Vegas. The letter came after the president told KRNV on Saturday that he would be inclined to oppose the project if it did not have local support.
“I think you should do things where people want them to happen, so I would be very inclined to be against it,” Trump told the Reno station after a rally in Elko. “We will be looking at it very seriously over the next few weeks, and I agree with the people of Nevada.”
Despite his comments, the Trump administration has designated funds to revive the Yucca Mountain project in budget proposals submitted to Congress. In addition Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry has made comments that the administration had a “legal responsibility” to continue pursuing the project.
“I request that no funds for Yucca Mountain be included in your Fiscal Year 2020 budget request,” Cortez Masto wrote in a letter to Perry and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney. “Continuing to request funds to build Yucca Mountain in your forthcoming budget request to Congress will only make President Trump’s remarks meaningless, and will run counter to his stated support for the majority of Nevadans who oppose this project.”
She also asked the administration to support S. 95, legislation introduced by Cortez Masto and Sen. Dean Heller to require written consent from local governments before the Department of Energy can build a nuclear waste repository.